Amazon files lawsuit over fake JL Childress baby accessories

Amazon has filed a lawsuit in partnership with a US baby product manufacturer against counterfeit sellers in China, in another attempt to tackle knock-off listings on its sites.

The suit with JL Childress – which makes baby strollers, car seats and other travel accessories – names 11 individuals in China that are accused of counterfeiting the 35-year-old company’s products, as well as 10 unnamed defendants.

Amazon and family-owned JL Childress are jointly bringing the action, which alleges trademark infringement and misuse of JL Childress’ intellectual property as well as false designation of origin and false advertising.

The plaintiffs are seeking a permanent injunction on the sale of the counterfeit items, reimbursement of legal costs and damages.

The baby products company is a member of Amazon’s Brand Registry programme – which allows companies to report a violation and uses automated systems to take down offending listings – as well as the online retailer’s Project Zero self-service counterfeit removal tool and Transparency, a product serialization service which launched in the US in 2018.

The complaint says that JL Childress began to use these tools “after and in response to the counterfeiting activity” on which the lawsuit focuses, which took place between 2018 and 2020. The counterfeiting was discovered after the brand owner carried out test purchases of gate check bags, one of its top-selling product lines.

The defendants named in the complaint are accused of operating six seller accounts on Amazon’s third-party marketplace, which accounts for more than half its turnover and has come under considerable criticism in recent years for allowing counterfeit goods to flourish on the e-commerce platform.

The lawsuit notes that defendants provided names, email addresses and banking information for the accounts, but that list doesn’t include a full physical address. Amazon is in the process of rolling out new rules insisting on physical addresses for all third-party sellers on its US and international sites.

In July, US lawmakers introduced new legislation – the INFORM Consumers Act – that would require high-volume sellers on online marketplaces to have their identity verified with information such as government ID, tax ID and bank account/contact information. So far, it hasn’t progressed beyond the introduction stage.

Amazon has been stepping up its anti-counterfeit activities in the face of growing pressure from lawmakers who claim that the company isn’t doing enough on the issue.

In February, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that aims to prevent counterfeit products from overseas from being sold to US citizens via online retail sites, and followed that earlier this month with a memo that seeks to make e-commerce companies accountable for counterfeit goods sales through fines and civil penalties.

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